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Shoshana Wasser

Associate Director of Public Affairs and Communications
Toll-free in Ontario: 1-800-387-0058

Board of directors appoints Carolyn Vesely, new CEO

September 4, 2019

Rita Davies, OAC Chair, today announced the selection of Carolyn Vesely as the Ontario Arts Council (OAC)’s new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) starting January 2, 2020. Carolyn, OAC’s current Director of Granting, will succeed Director & CEO, Peter Caldwell, who steps down in December 2019 after eight years as head of the organization. Peter informed the OAC board more than two years ago that he would not seek a renewal term.

“In a field of high-calibre candidates, Carolyn stood out as a strategic and creative thinker with exceptional knowledge of the arts community across Ontario. Carolyn’s own experience as an artist and arts manager gives her a unique understanding of the role of the arts in creating and sustaining the vitality of rural and urban centres. We look forward to working with Carolyn as she leads an OAC that is responsive to both community and government priorities into the next decade,” said Rita Davies, Chair.


“The work of artists and arts organizations adds so much to our lives. I am grateful to be given this opportunity to lead an organization like the Ontario Arts Council which plays such a unique and essential role in supporting the arts across the province,” said Carolyn Vesely, Director of Granting.

Carolyn Vesely

Carolyn Vesely
(Photo: Christopher Wahl)

About Carolyn

Carolyn Vesely has been the Director of Granting at OAC since 2013. While leading OAC’s granting programs and services, Carolyn oversaw the move to an online application process as well as the successful redesign and streamlining of OAC programs.


Carolyn joined OAC in 2001 as the Visual and Media Arts Officer. Prior to her arrival at OAC she was the Executive Director of the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery. During her years in Kitchener-Waterloo, the gallery became known for engaging and thought-provoking exhibitions. Carolyn was the Executive Director of the Kelowna Art Gallery in British Columbia from 1995 to 1998, after which she returned to Ontario. For seven years before moving to BC, she was the Director and Curator of the Glenhyrst Art Gallery of Brant in Brantford, Ontario. Carolyn graduated from the Visual Arts Department of the University of Western Ontario and the Schulich School of Business at York University.


The board selection committee was led by OAC Chair Rita Davies, and board members Judith Gelber (Toronto), Janet Stewart (London, ON), Karim Karsan (Toronto), Jill Reitman (Toronto), David Tsubouchi (Baltimore, ON). OAC retained Searchlight Partners to undertake a Canada-wide search for individuals with the talent and experience to lead OAC into the next decade. There was an outstanding and diverse field of candidates shortlisted for interviews by the committee.


“While we are not bidding farewell to Peter just yet, I want to acknowledge his enormous contribution to OAC and to Ontario’s arts community. We are fortunate that in this announcement we are signaling a very smooth and stable transition,” added Rita Davies.


For more information

Kirsten Gunter
Director of Communications
416-969-7403 | toll-free in Ontario 1-800-387-0058, ext. 7403